I realize it has been a shockingly long time since I last posted, and I have a number of excuses for that being the case.  I am keenly aware that none of them hold any water.  And even if they did, my vast readership isn’t mildly interested in my petty excuses.  Suffice it to say, I’m back for a bit.

Last week, I had the great privilege of attending a conference at my favorite institute for graduate-level theological studies.  My cohort in ministry accompanied me to the conference and you can read all about his take on things here.  I think I can summarize my own take-away from the conference in a single sentence:  Let the Text speak for itself.

Now that statement is LOADED, and one might mistakenly think that I’m advocating for a simplistic reading of the Bible.  I’m not.  In fact, far from it; even the opposite.

When I say, the text should be allowed to speak for itself, I’m saying that we should work hard (and it is hard work) to understand what the Bible is actually saying.  And in doing this several problems get in the way of our being able to do that.

1)  low view of Scripture
2)  laziness
3)  existentialism
4)  agenda
5)  culture
6)  conditioned readings

Unfortunately, none of these topics were directly addressed at the conference.  If they had been, then I might actually have something helpful to share here.  Instead, you’ll have to decipher the semi-coherent ramblings of an incompetent mind.

Nevertheless, these are all problems in how we approach the Bible that I’ve known about for some time and I’m going to wax barely-literate on each in turn.  I realize that all of the above issues are hopelessly intertwined with one another, but in the interest of clarity I’ll be addressing them as if they were distinct factors.

So for the next few weeks, you’ll probably find yourself in one of two boats – either ‘mildly interested’ or ‘intensely bored’.  Either way, I’m mainly doing this as a discipline for myself.  I find that ideas tend to crystallize better in my own mind when I am forced to organize my thoughts in print.

But returning to the conference for a moment, it was the impetus for this extended reflection and I deeply appreciated their efforts made in calling pastors to preach the Word faithfully.  Those leading the conference were characteristically thoughtful and engaging.  If my teaching ministry can incorporate even one or two of the principles put forth there, it will have been time well spent.

solo deo gloria

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